Have you heard of paperback books? They’re like ebooks, except actual, as in printed on paper. Mom got me one for my birthday. A cheesy romantic comedy. Don’t tell her I said so, but I’m kind of enjoying it. The story, yeah, but also the smell and feel of the paper, the crisp, high-res type, the absence of any and all notification pop-ups. Multitasking on your phone is no big deal. But with old-school books you can just read, and it’s kind of fun.
That’s how I’m doing it, sprawled out on the floor of my bedroom during Sunday night power hour—when all of the sudden Ernie’s standing over me.
“What’s up, Bug Eyes?” he falsettos (I guess because that’s what he thinks I sound like?), clutching a sleeping bag, earmuffs, spiral notebook, some honey bun boxes—
“Eeek!” I scream, and jump to my feet, quickly dart into the garden of puppetry that is my The Nightmare Before Christmas collection.
Ernie looks flabbergasted. “What’s with you?”
“I’m in my underwear!”
“Um, that I’m in my underwear.”
“We’re living in the SuperMegaNet age, sweets,” Ernie says. “I see you in your undies all the time, and I’ve lived to tell about it.”
“It’s still inappropriate!”
“Couldn’t give a shit. More importantly, I find you physically grotesque, what with those enormous bug eyes and totally flat chest, the little-boy hips and ass with absolutely no hint or suggestion of at least the slightest bit of impending womanhood—”
“Enough. I get it.” I come out of hiding, go over to the dresser and take out a tee and a pair of shorts. I already know it’s technically not fundoshi, so don’t bother pointing that out. Everyone cheats behind closed doors. Those who say they don’t are lying—or they’re Nakers. And anyway, it’s not mandated that you wear a loincloth in private, it’s only recommended. I put on the tee and shorts; I’m both relieved and vaguely disappointed that Ernie’s paying me no mind as he begins setting himself up at my desk. “You know I don’t like it when you download into my room unannounced. What if I’d been completely naked?”
Ernie scowls. “Then I’d be needing some emergency eye surgery right about now.”